CHICAGO (CBS) — Negotiations between the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union wrapped up for the night with no deal Monday, as the days count down before a strike could go ahead.
Talks wrapped up before 10 p.m., with the union keeping pressure on Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
“We’re going to keep bargaining, but I will say that there’s a lot of ground we have to make up,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said.
“She ran as a candidate that stood for change, and she has said that she wants to be known as the mayor that fought poverty, and here we are at a time and a place, and this situation where she has not totally put her money where her mouth is,” said Quentin Washington of Edward E. Sadlowski Elementary on the Southeast Side.
Earlier Monday, negotiations broke for a rally at the Chicago Temple in the Loop, as well as a march with drums and signs in Daley Plaza.
If a deal is not reached by Thursday, 20,000 teachers and staff members could go on strike.
But the mayor and CPS Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson have both previously emphasized that they remain committed to getting a deal done. On Monday night, Lightfoot and Jackson issued a statement repeating that sentiment, while lamenting the lack of progress on Monday.
“Today, the City and CPS’ negotiating team responded at the bargaining table to the Chicago Teachers Union’s framework for staffing and class size that they put forward on Saturday. We expressed a willingness to find solutions on these two core issues that would be written directly into the contract. Unfortunately, no measurable progress was made on any other issue today,” the statement said. “We remain committed to getting a deal done, as our teachers, students and families deserve no less.”
Union leaders said over the weekend it was surprisingly sober on the other side of the table, especially after the city told the union on Friday it has already issued a final contract offer, which includes a 16 percent total raise over a five-year contract.
The teachers union said it proposed a structure on two key concerns — class size and staffing — and came up with a pathway offer to phase them in.
The union is also pushing for more nurses, case managers, and counselors; but did make modifications to some of those proposals.
Union leaders say the ball is now in the city’s court – a contention they repeated Monday night.
As for a contingency plan, CPS launched a website to help parents navigate in case of a possible strike. They say CPS buildings will be open for students who need a place go during school hours.